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Local school will test every student for COVID-19 before their return

LOYALHANNA TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Every student returning to Kiski Prep in Westmoreland County will be tested in September.

In order for athletes to return to the field this fall, every athlete and coach will be tested once a week.

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The school says that’s how they plan to keep everyone healthy, both in academics and athletics.

Students returning this fall will undergo a COVID-19 test before being allowed back on campus, and 10 minutes is all it takes.

The private school started the certification process back in May, as a way to independently administer tests and keep the campus healthy.

“And we were listening to all the health officials who were saying early on in April or May ... the key for safe reopening is going to be testing,” said head of Kiski Prep Christopher Brueningsen.

Each test costs $25. Brueningsen said the cost associated with testing was worth it.

“We’re talking about a few thousand to test everybody at the beginning and a lot less than that as we’re testing teams, it’s a financial stretch for us for sure but we made the decision it was worth the investment for the safety of our kids,” Brueningsen said.

Kiski said it will adopt the same bubble concept some of the national sports leagues are using, and each team will be designated to a dorm.

“Boarding schools really do follow that same kind of model; we really are in a bubble so we decided we’d only play other boarding schools that subscribe to the same strict health and safety rules that we do,” Brueningsen said.

Kiski said the school’s small size of only about 190 students allows them to be more proactive and controlling in the face of the pandemic.

“There’s the risk and the fear about the safety so our whole plan has come together to really provide a safe environment and peace of mind for parents,” Brueningsen said.

Seasons will be condensed for athletes this fall, and the football team here will only be playing other boarding schools with a shortened season.

If for some reason a student does contact the virus, there’s a dorm specifically meant for quarantine.

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